Novel: Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen (Delacorte, 1993):
We had a small but vocal group at our meeting last week. All agreed that Nightjohn was an intense, compelling story that had to be told, and that Gary Paulsen did a fine job with no wasted words. Many were surprised that this excellent 1993 book had not garnered any awards. We all wished that Paulsen had included documentation of his research for this book, but realized that to do so wasn't the norm when the book was published as it is today.
Picture Book: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill (Little, Brown, 2010) -- 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator award for Bryan Collier:
As for our picture book, Dave the Potter, opinions were mixed on both the illustrations (it was a Caldecott Honor Book) and the text. Some folks felt that it was mostly above the heads of most children and youth, since it mainly spoke of how to make clay pots, and used terms that most kids would not know. All agreed, however, that the 'Back Matter' -- which went into great detail about 'Dave' and his pottery and what little was known about his life as a slave -- was better than the book itself, as well as the sources used in the research.